Amazing Retro Games For Linux Shell

Kesk -*- on 2022-04-09

If you like the 80s, you will love this list

This article lists some games that run on the Linux command line. If you lived in the 80s or want to know what early games used to look like, I encourage you to read it.

Nowadays, the games are mainly graphics, but in the 80s, they were simple and with few colors. But, for me, they had magic that I have never felt again.

I hope you like them and that if you did not live in that time, you feel the same as I felt the first time I played them, and if you have already played them, you can relive those moments.

Let's start!

Ascii Patrol

Ascii Patrol is an ASCII game. It is mainly inspired by "Moon Patrol," a 1982 arcade video game developed and released by Irem. The game is straightforward but highly addictive.

To install and play it, run the following commands in the command line:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install snapd
$ sudo snap install ascii-patrol
$ ascii-patrol
Ascii Patrol screenshot



nInvaders is a clear example of how games were in the 80s. It is one of my favorite games, and it is based on ASCII. The game mechanic is straightforward: kill the invaders before they reach you. It seems very simple, but it is a challenging game.

To install and play it, run the following commands in the command line:

$ sudo apt install ninvaders
$ ninvaders
nInvaders screenshot
nInvaders screenshot

Moon Buggy

Moon Buggy is another classic game based on Ascii by Jochen Voss. This game is also based on Moon Patrol (1982).

This version is less ambitious than the previous one but also very funny.

To install and play it, run the following commands in the command line:

$ sudo snap install moon-buggy
$ moon-buggy
Moon Buggy screenshot
Moon Buggy screenshot

Pyramid Builder

Pyramid Builder is a fantastic game for an ASCII game. In it, you have to improve your civilization by helping to build pyramids.

You have to direct the workers to cultivate, unload the cargo, and move the gigantic stones to build the best pyramid.

In the URL below are the installation instructions. In this case, you will have to download a ZIP.


Pyramid Builder screenshot


NetHack is a classic single-player RPG-dungeon exploration game. It features beautiful and varied graphical and text interfaces.

In this URL are the installation instructions. You will have to download the ZIP, unzip it and run it.

NetHack 3.6.6: NetHack Home Page Congratulations adventurer! Your quest is at an end, for you have reached the home of NetHack. Within, the Wizard of…

NetHack screenshot
NetHack screenshot

Secret Adventure — dunnet

The most "retro" retro 8-bit games are text-based adventures, and Dunnet is a good example. This game is a cyberpunk text adventure written by Ron Schnell, based on a game he wrote in 1982.

The game starts with the player standing at the end of a dirt road. Still, it turns surreal when players realize that they are walking around inside a Unix system and teleporting themselves around the Arpanet.

This adventure game runs inside the Emacs text editor, so you must have it previously installed.

To play it from the command line, you have to execute the following commands:

$ sudo snap install emacs --classic
$ emacs -batch -l dunnet
dunnet screenshot


In this simple game, you must move left or right with the arrow keys to control the skier's speed. Then, press Enter to jump at the right time. Finally, you can see your score at the end of the jump.

To install and play it, run the following commands in the command line:

$ sudo apt-get install asciijump
$ asciijump
ASCII Jump screenshot
ASCII Jump screenshot

Ascii Sector

Ascii Sector is a space exploration game that you can play on your terminal. Yes, on your terminal. The game contains the ingredients of a good space exploration game like Trade, fighting against other ships, upgrading your ship, perform missions. The truth is that playing it gives me beautiful sensations.

It is simply beautiful.

Ascii Sector screenshot
Ascii Sector screenshot

You can download it from this URL:


Bastet is a Tetris clone for the Linux command line. Simple and addictive.

To install it, run the following commands in the command line:

$ sudo apt install bastet

And to play the game, run the following command in the terminal:

$ bastet
Bastet screenshot


In this game, you will pilot a "helicopter" that will go down in altitude in each cycle. Your goal is to avoid crashing into the skyscrapers, and to do this, you will have to go dropping bombs.

Pay attention to the game messages when you destroy something :P.

Bombardier screenshot

Bombardier is available in the official repository, so type the following commands in the terminal to install and play it:

$ sudo apt install bombardier  
$ bombardier

Both to start playing and to shoot, press the space bar:

Bombardier screenshot

And a multiplayer game:


SSHTron is an amazing multiplayer game based on the Tron movie. However, a downside of this game is that it is difficult to find people to play against.

It is very similar to the other classic game that you remember from the mobile phones of a few years ago: The "snake," but it is much more complicated because there are other players, and it is very easy to cross their lines.

To move, you have to use the WASD keys. Do not use the arrow keys.

To play, execute the following command in the command line:

SSHTron screenshot
SSHTron screenshot

In the following URL, you have all the information about it:

SSHTron Multiplayer Tron in your terminal. Just run the command below and you'll be playing in seconds. $ ssh…

Thank you!